Canada Becoming Safe Haven For Terrorists: India Amid Diplomatic Standoff

New Delhi: Underlining that terrorism as a larger issue is something that should be looked at, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday called it a fact that it is funded and supported by Pakistan and the issue of safe havens, and places to operate have been provided abroad, including in Canada. “We obviously condemn any threat… but we should look at the larger issue, the larger issue of terrorism. Not only terrorism but also the fact that it is funded and supported and we know this from some…from our western neighbours Pakistan…but the issue of safe havens, and places to operate have been provided abroad, including in Canada…and that…you know we would expect that is the main focus. The question is: do we have the political will to address terrorism or do we want to justify it and condone it?” the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi said.

He repeated that New Delhi wants greater actions from Canadian authorities and that all of India’s concerns about Canada are connected to inaction on terrorism and organised crime.

Notably, India and Pakistan’s relations were never normal since the formation of the latter country. India has repeatedly raised its concern over Pakistan’s support of cross-border terrorism and has asserted that terror and talks cannot go together.

Following the Indian government’s decision in August 2019 to abolish Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate it into two Union territories [J&K and Ladakh], the Pakistan government, then led by Imran Khan, expelled India’s ambassador to Islamabad and halted bilateral trade.

Meanwhile, during the presser, Bagchi further said that India would expect better steps by the Canadian side on significant concerns about terrorism. He stated, “The relationship I think… quickly I think we would expect better steps by the Canadian authorities on our very significant concerns about terrorism…about the security of our diplomats, Indian community and overall anti-India activities.”

Trudeau during a debate in the Canadian Parliament, claimed his country’s national security officials had reasons to believe that “agents of the Indian government” carried out the killing of the Canadian citizen, who also served as the president of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.

Nijjar, the chief of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a Sikh extremist organisation banned by India and a “designated terrorist”, was killed in a targeted shooting at British Columbia in Canada’s Surrey in June 2018. India, however, rejected the allegations by the Trudeau administration, terming them “absurd” and “motivated”.

“We have seen and rejected the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement. “Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” the MEA added in its statement.

“Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister and were completely rejected. We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law,” it added. 

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